Showsight Presents the Swedish Vallhund

THE SWEDISH VALLHUND

By Amanda Lowery Photos courtesy of the Swedish Vallhund Club of America

T he Swedish Vallhund has been recognized by the Swedish Ken- nel Club since 1943, and for many years by kennel clubs in Can- ada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and other countries around the world. The breed was fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2007, and is in the Herding Group. An ancient herd- ing dog (some say the breed has been known since Viking times), this is an alert, energetic and healthy breed. Body & Versatility Longer-legged, lighter in build, and shorter in body length than either Corgi (but still longer than it is tall: the Vall- hund’s correct height-to-length ratio is 2:3), the Vallhund stands 11 ½ to 13 ½ inches at the withers (although the stan- dard states that overall balance, type and proportion is more important than minor variations in size), and should be sound, sturdy, muscular and give the impression of power (without being either too coarse or too f ine). Bitches tend to be smaller than dogs. Th e Swedish Vallhund is a versatile, all-purpose farm dog. Originally a cattle- specific herding breed (although they will herd anything and everything!), Vallhunds are built low to the ground and are heelers (herding by rounding up and nipping at the hocks). As this is a working farm dog,

“AS THIS IS A WORKING FARM DOG, MOVEMENT (flowing with good reach and drive) AND TEMPERAMENT (fearless, intelligent and alert) ARE VERY IMPORTANT.”

movement (flowing with good reach and drive) and temperament (fearless, intelli- gent and alert) are very important. While the SV is not intended to run hard all day as some other herding breeds are, it should still be an agile and economical mover, and should give the impression of being capa- ble of a day’s work. Tail & Color The tail is one of this breed’s unique features: Vallhunds can be born with a wide range of natural tails, running the full length of the spectrum from almost- nonexistent bobs, through stubs of vary- ing lengths to a full tail (which can be carried curled over the back or straight). Docking is still acceptable for the breed in the AKC standard, although there is no requirement to do so, since all tail

types are equally acceptable, none are preferred over another, and in confor- mation, judging stops at the croup (the tail is not judged). When breeding, it is suggested by the Swedish club that one of each tail type be used, in order to preserve the natu- ral bobtail gene (you will generally see a mix of tails in a litter with a parent of each tail type). Tail crossed to tail will result in a litter of all tails, whereas bob crossed to bob may still produce some full tails in the offspring, depending on the tails of the dogs in the pedigree. The Swedish Vallhund must be sabled (having darker tips to the longer guard hairs), and comes in varying shades of grey and red, with lighter shades of these colors on the underside, legs and face (a dark muzzle is acceptable, but a

“THE SWEDISH VALLHUND MUST BE SABLED (having darker tips to the longer guard hairs), and comes in varying shades of grey and red, with lighter shades of these colors on the underside, legs and face...”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2014 • 211

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